Written April 2019 on the train to Boston
The freedom of travel isn’t natural to me and it doesn’t feel natural in the slightest way. I am out of place in independence. I am disguising myself with suitcases and train tickets. Every window I look out of, I search for something to show me that maybe I’ve found somewhere that could feel like home; not a place to live necessarily, but a place of familiarity, a place I could love; because love creates familiarity and that, to me, creates a place I call home. In other words; home is where the heart is.
Maybe that’s why some of us travel or take gap years or change our majors halfway through our freshman year, because the choices we’re making don’t make us feel at home within ourselves. Or in love with ourselves in the way that we should be. So we change our outside world and we adjust how we interact with it, trying to find the right way to feel. Do we have a heart that grows with helping others or with solidarity? One that is built to create or to learn from others? We transfer schools. We buy a plane ticket to study abroad. We look out the window for just one stretch of land that calls out for our roots to be put down.
We are lonely. As a collective human race, we are lonely, because if we weren’t we would never get out of the house. And we would never talk to the strangers at our coffee shops or fall in love with the glow of the skyline at 7:00am. And we would never choose to explore what it means to be alive in the most extraordinary way we can. Maybe that time you went to New York City as a child lead to an amazing job on Wall Street, and the family of three you saw playing in the park made you realize you were ready to have one of your own. And maybe it was the opposite for the other bystander, who, after noticing the annoyed and exhausted look on the father’s face, firmly decided on never creating ties that couldn’t be broken. And maybe you did create a family, and maybe that bystander did live without one. And maybe, in the end of it all, you were the lonely one.
Your roots are not guaranteed to grow stronger over time. Aren’t you afraid of that? Doing everything right and still feeling wrong in the end. We are terrified of the uncertainty of it all. We fight to find the one thing that makes the future feel okay; comfort in ourselves. Feeling at home in ourselves.
I travel and I search and I find hints of home everywhere I go. I learn a lot, and not even from the destinations I go to, but more the experiences I find in them. And I feel really lucky to be able to do that, that getting bored leads to physically removing myself from where I live and going to find inspiration somewhere new. Home to me isn’t a place, necessarily, it’s more of a feeling that I’m collecting more knowledge on how to get. Independence is something I’m not used to and yet, the more I do it, the closer I feel to myself and to the world.